This time last year I was talking about the new era under Kevin Kolb and how the Eagles could well be a team in transition. Now, Kolb’s career in Philly is over. Blink and you’ll have missed it!
Was last year a transitional season? I think it was meant to be. I don’t think that many Eagles fans truly believed we’d get to the playoffs and one of the main reasons we did was that the NFC East was in such a mess. I didn’t expect McNabb to crash and burn so spectacularly in Washington and who could have foreseen Dallas challenging Carolina for last place in the NFL until their form picked up under Kitna?
The other main reason that the Eagles won the NFC East and marched into the playoffs was the star reborn, Mr Michael Dwayne Vick.
When Vick signed for the Eagles, I had a #7 jersey shipped over to the UK right away. I knew he was going to be a back-up for McNabb and I knew about his previous problems, but he was still one of the most exciting players ever to play the game and he was an Eagle! At the end of that first season there were talks of a trade and then Kolb was named starter, but I still wore my #7 jersey. Then week one came, Kolb was KO’d and Vick took over the team. And how!
There were certainly areas, especially on defense, where the Eagles were lacking. The secondary was decimated and it really started to show as the playoffs loomed. Even the offense had problems. Short yardage situations were a nightmare and Vick often took it upon himself to singlehandedly make first downs. This led to injury and meant that when I flew in for the Falcons game I saw Kolb rather than Vick at QB, not that I complained after his performance that day!
A stronger, faster, meaner Mike Vick dragged the team right into the playoffs and it appears that the Eagles’ Front Office were as impressed with #7 as the rest of the world. This off season, they’ve gone out and spent dollars. Lots of them. It’s almost as if they realized that in Vick they have something very special, a Quarterback capable of winning the big one. If this was a game of poker, the Eagles just went “all in”.
It’s difficult to predict the future, but last season I was only 5 games out when looking at the NFC East as a whole. How did I do it? Well, I figure that the most relevant season in history is the last one, so I’ve awarded 10 points for each win during 2010. This gives the Eagles 100 points (10 wins x 10 points). Then in 2009, I’ve awarded 9 points per win which means that the Eagles bank another 99 points for their 11 wins. I’ve followed this all the way back to 2001 where the 11 wins are worth 1 point each, so 11 in all. Adding the points for each season together gives me a total of 540, but in order to convert this to a single season win record I need to divide by 55 (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10). I then end up with 9.82 (540 / 55) and so from the record of the last 10 NFL seasons, I predict that the Eagles will end up 10-6 in 2011.
Interestingly, the stats have come up with exactly the same prediction for the NFC East as it did last year:-
Of course, what actually happened last year was:-
The prediction for the Eagles was spot on, the Giants and Redskins were just 1 game out and even historical data couldn’t predict the horrible mess in Dallas (haha!).
Eagles 10-6 in 2011? I’d be disappointed with that, to be honest. With the hype surrounding this team and the massive upgrade in personnel, I believe we should be looking realistically at between 12 and 14 wins. The Giants are likely to be the biggest threat in the division, 9-7 or maybe 10-6 for them. The Cowboys… well… can we dare wish for more comedy from Jerry’s circus? I’m sure all their fans are predicting 16-0 like they do every year, but it would be a big turnaround if the managed a winning season at all. And the poor Redskins with Rex Grossman leading them. Can they get 7 wins? They do have some pretty average teams on their schedule, but I still think that 7 wins will be a stretch.
I’m not too confident that the stats system will be as accurate this year, but then I didn’t expect the ‘transitional’ Eagles to achieve 10-6 in 2010. As it happens I was spot on. Only time will tell. Well, time and #7 staying healthy for the season.
Cheers from the UK and GO BIRDS!